Isn’t it great when seasons actually deliver more or less what is expected? I felt that October worked and that the season had turned. There were a few cold nights, some beautiful misty dawns, the occasional bright watery days of sunshine and some very soggy rough moments. Things just got beaten up and then the colour started to tease through. The growth having been so luxuriant, I suspect we may be on for a long shutdown and a never ending clean up. I have been sweeping and clearing debris for a couple of weeks already. I am just glad that last month I managed to tidy and harvest from the compost bins. Luxuriant growth creates a bigger compost heap and composting is well worth the trouble. Just don’t make it too complicated. I tend to commit all green debris to the heap. Sorting and grading at this stage can be really tiresome. So, a few of the wrong bits make it through, well you soon spot them when you access the compost. I sieve mine and then reintroduce the lumpy bits to the heap even the brambles surrender eventually, and the exertion is great for body and soul. Oh yes, now where was I? Cleaning, tidying, clipping, anchoring, tying, disinfecting, and pressure washing are all on the agenda. Try to resist cutting the lawn, but if you are in the mood spike it with your fork. If you are up for gardening, then consider bigger planting now. Fruit trees, ornamentals, roses and soft fruit as well as hedging are all moving to dormancy and settle very quickly at this time of the year. In the case of trees it will be worth staking.
You can still be titivating borders too and there are plenty of bulbs around as well as autumn bedding. The pansies have been great this year and are showing real promise for winter flower, many being laden with buds. In the vegetable space, you can consider Garlic, shallots and rhubarb as well as overwintering onions. If you can find some Perpetual spinach plants and kale are certain survivors for late planting. They are good fillers and a really useful fall back when other veg is scarce. Try some by the door in a pot, it saves marching off down the garden on a grotty day.
And finally take a look at Tithonia, an old fashioned, little used bedding plant that belongs to the Sunflower group. It’s very jolly and I will be giving it a go next year for sure.